Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Southern Vipers vs Sunrisers at The Utilita Bowl

Sunrisers 288/7 beat Southern Vipers 162 by 126 runs

Sunrisers finally won a Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy match at the 21st time of asking as they thrashed two-time winners Southern Vipers by 126 runs.

Grace Scrivens, Jodi Grewcock and Mady Villiers all scored half-centuries as Sunrisers totted up 288 at the Utilita Bowl.

And despite Maia Bouchier giving a flier with 57 off 48 balls, Vipers’ star-studded folded to Abtaha Maqsood’s five for 30 to get bowled out for 162.

Sunrisers had suggested they would be a stronger proposition after a 100 per cent record from their five pre-season runouts, and now have a second victory as a region – following a single Charlotte Edwards Cup success in 2021.

Nineteen-year-old Scriven laid the foundations for the historic victory with a stunning 67.

Scrivens will play for England at some point, the question is when? She was the third top run scorer in last season’s Trophy before setting the Women’s Under 19 T20 World Cup on fire with 293 runs in seven innings, with her captaincy helping England to the final.

It was no surprise that six of the eight regional captains picked her as the most exciting young player in the competition, with four predicting her to be the PCA’s Domestic Women’s MVP.

Any extra expectation on her was shrugged off as she punished England fast bowler Lauren Bell with five boundaries inside the first five overs to start with a bang. Any width was nailed to the boundaries with supreme power.

Sunrisers had chosen to bat first and lost Lissy Macleod to a clumsy piece of running, but Scrivens and fellow teenager Jodi Grewcock set the foundations for a decent score on a pitch perfect for batting.

Northamptonshire reared Grewcock rotated the strike, while Scrivens cruised to a 64-ball half-century – brought up with a luscious cover drive. The duo added 93 before Scrivens was stumped by the quick hands of Vipers debutant Rhianna Southby.

Grewcock took a more active part with Villiers – who was dropped twice early on but motored through the gears. Grewcock reached her maiden professional fifty in 94, balls while Villiers quickly followed in 44 – an innings with included an outrageous six over cover.

Their stand of 117 allowed the last ten overs to be used as a thrashing, with 86 runs coming and five wickets coming. Eva Gray clubbed 25 in 14 balls to headline the late-innings fireworks.

Linsey Smith picked up three for 59, and whilst Georgia Adams was wicketless, she only conceded 34 in her 10 overs.

Ella McCaughan fell swinging Kate Coppack to deep square leg in the fifth over and Georgia Elwiss was scratchy before picking out mid-on.

But Bouchier was dominant in her stroke play gave Vipers some control. She had scored 41 of a 58-run stand with Elwiss, with shots off her legs a real joy.

Her fifty came in 39 balls, only to york herself when attempting to advance to Maqsood. Danni Wyatt and Adams fell in quick succession to leave Vipers 111 for five – with three wickets falling for just five runs.

Villiers, capped 17 times by England, then bowled Charlie Dean and Linsey Smith in the same over – she ended with three for 52.

Maqsood picked up her fourth when Mary Taylor’s leading edge chipped to Coppack before completing her five-for and the victory by bowling Alice Monaghan.